White chocolate vs. dark/milk chocolate

Sometimes we take things for granted. You think something is part of something else and then when you really dig in you find out that is not the case. What did I take for granted?

Chocolate.

Yes, it is true. In a conversation with someone recently the topic came up about the difference between milk/dark chocolate and white chocolate. I had never thought about it. They all have the name of chocolate, but are they really all chocolate? The person I was talking with said no. White chocolate is not at all like milk or dark chocolate.

Regardless of the truth, I can see there being different chocolate camps. I ebb and flow with my allegiance. I go through phases where all I want is white chocolate (especially around Christmas, as there is something yummy about candy canes with white chocolate). At other times, I am a dark chocolate fan, and for some reason feel like the higher cacao factor makes it healthier for me (maybe true)? In last place would be milk chocolate, unless you are talking about the chips in my chocolate chip cookies.

So what is the truth? From what I have researched, white chocolate has cocoa butter in it, where as milk and dark chocolate is made from cocoa plant. An excerpt from Diffen (a website that compares things) states:

“Dark chocolate and white chocolate both contain cocoa butter and are eaten as dessert or used in confectionery. Chocolate is derived from the bean of the cocao (cocoa) plant which breaks down in to chocolate liquor (the ground or melted state of the nib of the bean), cocoa butter (the fat component) and cocoa powder (the non-fat part of the cocoa bean ground into a powder). Dark chocolate is produced by adding cocoa butter to sugar and cocoa powder. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate does not contain any milk solids. White chocolate contains only cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids and no chocolate liquor or cocoa powder. So technically, white chocolate is not really chocolate at all.”

Did you learn something new or am I just slow to the game on chocolate?

Those drawers full of jewelry

I remember her two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Looking back I am horrified that she lived there. Old linoleum and cabinets, even older carpeting, and I will not even start on the yellow bathtub and red carpeting in the bathroom — who puts carpeting in a bathroom, let alone a rental apartment? She lived there for at least ten years if not longer. All of her furniture was given to her by family over the years, and she cherished every piece she owned. Right down to the costume jewelry she owned.

I can remember sitting at her dressing table (that was used as a desk and was never used as a dressing table). There were three drawers on each side, and a narrow, long drawer in the middle. She kept each necklace and bracelet and pair of earrings in their own separate box. You know, the kind that you purchased the jewelry in. She kept the cotton filler intact, and stored each piece in that box, which often told you where the purchase was made. I would often adventure to the table and want to try each piece on and play with alternating the fake pearls with the gaudy earrings. She did not have her ears pierced, they were all clip on earrings (and I thought they hurt horribly) but put them on anyways.

It was not that she hated my trying it all on, I think she just wanted to keep everything in its proper place and well I was a fast little one and she could not keep up. I sensed her hesitation and I also always felt like I should not even ask to try it on. It was all fake costume jewelry so what was her hesitation? Today, I am not a fan of costume jewelry. I prefer the one-of-a-kind version, where almost no one has that piece that I do. Maybe the few times I played with her costume jewelry got the desire for it out of my system.

Over the weekend, I finished reading: “What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir” by Abigail Thomas. A memoir where the author is aging and she talks about her husbands, growing old, her kids, and grandkids. This portion made me think of my grandma, her apartment, costume jewelry, and how different she lived than I do today.

“Somehow it is more interesting to find something beat-up and handled than to get it new. My bureau drawers are stuffed with god knows what, and my daughters always go through them when they are here. It is a compulsion. My theory is that they are looking for the secret, the answer, the explanation for everything.” Page 72

Did those drawers hold any secrets or answers? Did I wonder if I would ever have such drawers and if I would allow my grandkids to unearth the treasures to see what they might hold in their eyes of wonder? Maybe.

Just get ‘er done

I am a get-shit-done-now kind of woman. I blogged recently about how it is hard for me to sometimes be artistic and creative (which I love doing) if there is not order in my home and my mind. I have to clear out the clutter, organize, and make space for new ideas to grow and flourish. In the coming weeks, Chris and I have a list of home projects and tasks to embark on. One is to make space in a few closets and find ways to build shelves within the closets to truly maximize the space. Not the most fun project in the world, but I have a hunch that as we do it, and we truly go through the items stacked away we will find that purging and organizing will be therapeutic.

Which is why I loved this idea from a recent Daily Om:

“Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.”

Not that cleaning out a closet is a daunting task, my point is more that sometimes when we talk about something we need to just shut up and do it. And, stop talking about it! Your list itself might be painful to look at because you think: “How am I ever going to do all this?” Instead of wallowing in all you have to do, just get started.

Maybe your dreaded task is actually a conversation. It might be one you have tried to have many times before with that person and you never truly get out what you want to get across. Or, maybe you have had the conversation multiple times, but the other person does not get it. You dread it, but know that being transparent, open, and direct with your thoughts and feedback allows you to get it off your chest leaving you feeling free and stronger.

Whatever the project, my hope is that you start, work through it, get ‘er done, and move on. You will feel lighter. You will.

Is it all about the iPad?

This video is so me. My father-in-law shared this funny commercial with me. While it is not the epitome of my marriage there are many striking similarities with Emma and myself. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and laptop, and yet I prefer paper in so many ways. Yes, I am hard-core about my iPhone. It comes with my everywhere, and I do know why I held on to my flip phone so many years ago. I was against a contraption that did all these things. I did not want to jump ship and get onboard. And then I did, and never looked back. With the exception of a few things.

I am a post-it whore. I should probably buy stock in 3M. I use them constantly at work and at home. A note app is great when you want to track a list of things, and when it pings you, but sometimes having that little sticky post-it on your phone that you touch and feel and have as a reminder is way more in your face then that note app you have to open and remember to check. I still have yet to find the perfect app that does exactly what I need, and so I resort to post-its. I am sure 3M is grateful.

Next, I am old school because I still read books from an actual paper version. I have tried to read from books on my iPhone or iPad and it just is not the same. Sure when you are traveling or on the go it is way more convenient, but there is something real about holding that book in your hand, being able to tell how far you have to go, or how much you have left (especially when it is a really good book). There is just something so sterile about reading a book on an iPad. Which is why I loved this line from “Sex and the City: The Movie” with Carrie and Mr. Big:

Mr Big says: “Are you the last person in New York still taking out library books?” Carrie says: “I love the smell. Mm.”

Ah, I am not one for the smell, or the treasures (usually a bit gross) you find in a book, but I love to know the adventure it has been on. How many times someone dropped it in the bathtub (curled pages), when someone loves the book (dog eared pages), a note or receipt someone left behind, and so many other oddities that tell the path that book has been on.

So when I watched this quick ad for toilet paper, I thought touche when I saw the ending!

Airlines shrinking carry-on size, what’s next?

Just when we thought flying on a plane could not get ANY worse. Yes, they are trying to put in more seats, so that you basically are required to sit upright the entire time, a bag of peanuts is going to cost $3, and drinks will BYOB (all my jokes). All joking aside there does not seem to be much more they can take from us while on a flight, and instead it tends to go the other direction that everything is costing passengers more money.

So, when I saw this Fast Company article, “Good for Luggage Manufacturers, Bad for Travelers: Carry-on Bag Size to Shrink by 21%” I about lost it. What else are they going to do? The interesting part is that it looks like the current carry-on size is 22 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. The new guidelines would mean 21.5 inches tall, 13.5 inches wide, and 7.5 inches deep. They are only shaving a half-inch off two sides and 1.5 inches off another, yet, every inch counts! I am not one to check my luggage. I have to be going far enough and long enough that I need to take enough to warrant a larger suitcase. Even then, I do all I can to see how I can make do with a smaller carry-on. Less hassle and the wonder of if I will see my bag again, and it means I travel light. Oh, and did I mention that it saves me money because I do not have to pay to check my luggage (knock on wood, as that too could change).

The article states that the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has put forth these guidelines and it is voluntary if airlines want to comply. Something tells me that Samsonite, Tumi, Victorinox, and others are in on this deal? It means more business for luggage companies if the guidelines go into effect than those flying the friendly skies are going to have to pay up (in more ways than one) to travel comfortably. What is next, seat sharing to save money? How about seat belt sharing?

What is confusing is that if some airlines comply with guidelines and others do not, it makes for an interesting trip. These are guidelines that should be standard across all airplanes of similar types. So that when you get to China, your bag will fit just the same in Brazil. This is not customer service, it is just another way to steal from customers. Can we stop, and go back to the days when traveling was supposed to feel like a luxury?